Tanner Roark (10-6, 2.96 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (5-10, 4.70 ERA) – 9:40 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2
Roark has been a key part of the Washington Nationals’ rotation achieving success this year. He has surrendered just nine home runs in 136 2/3 innings, and his FIP is solid at 3.39.
The right-hander tossed a gem in his last start facing the Giants. He went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out three batters. It was the tenth outing in which he lasted seven innings and allowed two runs or less. Roark is holding opposing teams to a .236 average, and left-handed batters are hitting .199 facing him.
He is reliable on the road, considering his 3.15 ERA in 11 starts away from home. He thrives when the pressure is on, by limiting other teams to a .184 average with two outs and runners in scoring position.One interesting stat about Roark is that teams have a .273 average the first time through the batting order, but it drops to .205 the second time and .235 the third time.
He has yet to allow an earned run in five career games (two starts) against the Diamondbacks in 18.1 innings.
Meanwhile, Ray has shown glimpses that he can be a solid pitcher in the rotation. He is seventh in the NL with 143 strikeouts, and his 11.91 strikeouts per nine innings is good for third in the league.
The only problem with the high number of strikeouts for Ray is that it runs his pitch count up. A perfect example of this was his last outing facing the Milwaukee Brewers. He fanned 11 batters on 101 pitches, but completed just 5.2 innings and yielded five runs. There are seven starts in 2016 that Ray has struck out at least eight batters.
The key for Ray in finding the right balance between accumulating K’s and keeping his team in games. In 13 of his 21 starts, the southpaw has allowed three earned runs or fewer, but just seven times in that time frame has he pitched six or more innings.
Ray has allowed opposing teams to post a .274 batting average against him, but left-handed batters are hitting only .256.
The left-hander hasn’t experienced any success at Chase Field, as indicated by his 5.17 ERA in 10 starts at home. The problem for Ray comes in the middle innings, as he has a 6.00 ERA in innings four through six. This marks the first career start for Ray against the Washington Nationals.
Prediction: I expect Roark to have another solid outing, but Ray keeps his team in the game as well. The Diamondbacks win this game in extra innings.
Next: Wednesday's Matchup